Black Swan
The Malaysian Insider
Nov 22, 2011

NOV 22 — With the debacle that is the NFC and many other issues being hotly debated in Malaysia at the moment, a thought suddenly came to me.

The underlying and pervading issue here seems to be an issue of values. Let me qualify this: I am no psychologist with textbook definitions of values; I am a professional and mother who is increasingly aghast at what is going on in Malaysia.

Values to me are simply our personal guidelines that enable us to distinguish between right and wrong. We would do something that is right because our personal values guide so and we wouldn’t do something because the same values would, again, make us hesitate from doing it.

As the NFC debacle looms larger and politician after politician (from the highest offices of the government) come out and say that this was right and make it all sound very convincing, one then realises that they are saying so because they believe they are right. Why? Their personal values are guiding them.

Which brings to question the entire value system that is being practised. It has nothing to do with religion or race. These people’s values are guiding them to believe that they are right.

When you have politicians saying, “we want to do something because of its political dividend” or “we cannot afford to be ‘picky’” about which groups to align themselves with, and that everything must be done with only one goal in mind — winning the next election — the value system, to me, again comes into question. Isn’t public office about serving the people and doesn’t it require a certain degree of selflessness and humility?

Again, I believe it’s the values. It has become commonplace for the politicians to believe that governing is their entitlement and not a privilege granted to them by the citizens.

I personally believe that these values, distorted though they may be, are so ingrained that it is going to be quite difficult to move away from this. Until people have values that include accountability, transparency and respect for the other human beings at its core, I don’t believe any fundamental change is going to be possible no matter how many laws are passed and how many enforcement agencies or personnel you have.

As long as corruption, cronyism and arrogance are part of someone’s value system, nothing much can ever change. It is going to just entrench itself deeper into the nation’s value system.

Until we, as individuals, can look at ourselves in the mirror and say, “This is wrong and I should not do this,” no fundamental change can happen in the society — no matter how many slogans and billboards we put up.

  1. #1 by dagen on Tuesday, 22 November 2011 - 1:22 pm

    Dear Black Swan mother well whatever,

    You have been profoundly misguided. The feedlot issue is purely a matter of umnoputras’ ketuanan constitutional right. This right is unquestionable. And your criticism of it amounts to you being anti-agung, anti-sultan, anti-islam jenis umno, anti-gobermen, anti-melayu (actually umnoputra), ungrateful, unpatriotic, communist, terrorist etc etc and you may be ISA-ed.

  2. #2 by k1980 on Tuesday, 22 November 2011 - 2:39 pm

    Not only ISA-ed, but also c4ed or like TBH and Sarbani, dumped from the 5th floor of a building

  3. #3 by boh-liao on Tuesday, 22 November 2011 - 2:48 pm

    Aiyah, doesn’t Black Swan understand d NFC n many other issues being hotly debated in Malaysia at d moment REFLECT d accepted VALUES n DNA of UmnoB/BN?

  4. #4 by SENGLANG on Tuesday, 22 November 2011 - 3:31 pm

    The writers are out of touch with Malaysian politic. Here those in power will no talk about values. Values to them is the most they can grab the better values their have. Remember the Klang assembly man who add value to his mansion at the price of the tax payers.

    Now we have another one who think if the condos can add values to their income statement even at the expense of tax payer moneys that is ok. That the values they are talking

  5. #5 by SENGLANG on Tuesday, 22 November 2011 - 3:39 pm

    School children in Malaysia are taught Nilai Murni (Virtues Values) in their syllabus. The education minister now is non other than the minister who has been in previously in charge of this famous cowgate NFC project. Do you think he know what is NILAI MURNI?

  6. #6 by SENGLANG on Tuesday, 22 November 2011 - 3:48 pm

    Different country have difference set of values. Just go to the below story. No money change hand but a mere asking for a bribe is enough to be charged. Here in Malaysia, no only money changed hand, the money are seen following into the corrupts’s pockets yet NFA.

    That the values in Malaysia politic

    “Hospital’s ex-deputy director charged with corruption”

  7. #7 by monsterball on Tuesday, 22 November 2011 - 3:55 pm

    Let us not let UMNO b supporters lure us to discuss this….discuss that and forget our main objectives.
    13th GE is is FOR or AGAINST discussions.
    If anyone fall into the traps to talk agree to disagree…it favors only BN…to see minds are still in agreeing and disagreeing modes…undecided yet.
    Why talk VALUES when we all know UMNO b have proven to take billions of Malaysians money to enrich themselves and to buy votes.
    It is wasting time to talk about VALUES…unless it is to educated and to prove to young voters how the BN government value to divide and rule …making sure Malaysians are never united as ONE.

  8. #8 by SENGLANG on Tuesday, 22 November 2011 - 4:05 pm

    Let forget about values in Malaysia. Now we talk about peaceful assembly. BN proposed now all can assembly peacefully BUT only in your bed room.

  9. #9 by monsterball on Tuesday, 22 November 2011 - 4:06 pm

    As ONE ….Malaysia Malaysian.
    Leave other countries aside.
    We have three mighty cultures and races roots in Malaysia…all have strong influence what Malaysia should be.
    But Mahathit love British ole rules…class distinctions…divide to rule and steal from other others…where the sun never sets over the British Empire…until all countries demanded freedom…where Britain had no choice but to give…because people were getting smarter.
    Here Mahathir make sure Malays stay contented and be racists…to do his devilish deeds.
    You can see….present leaders are still applying the same old tactics…for they are drunk with 55 years success in stealing country’s wealth…and cannot change..for change means admitting stealing.
    So lets focus on CORRUPTIONS & DOUBLE STANDARDS to disunite Malaysians and let PEOPLE decides….FOR or AGAINST.

  10. #10 by monsterball on Tuesday, 22 November 2011 - 4:13 pm

    As ONE….Malaysian Malaysia.
    Let us focus on CORRUPTIONS & DOUBLE STANDARDS ..where they love to divide and rule….or we all be Malaysians…united as ONE.
    Let People vote….FOR or AGAINST.

  11. #11 by Loh on Tuesday, 22 November 2011 - 4:29 pm

    ///Which brings to question the entire value system that is being practised. It has nothing to do with religion or race. These people’s values are guiding them to believe that they are right.///–Black Swan

    One would have believed that a person who profess a certain religion would have accepted the teachings of the religion. Indeed religion teaches value, apart from promising to lead the people to where they should go, based on their performance in life, after life.

    So the value one practices should have to do with the religion; unless the person is seen to be practising the religion but is not religious.

    In a democracy, the people offer their services to serve others. They are chosen based mainly on what they promise to do for others, and they have to demonstrate that they are capable to do so. What they promise would mean delivery of the values the people treasure. But the value system which the people adopt can change.

    When the people merely practice the teaching of religions, they put value on virtues, as are taught in schools. But that values have to be acquired by the persons concerned just like one gains benefits from doing exercise. But politicians find the short-cut to make the electorates treasure values that they could offer.

    UMNO politicians started to make the Malays feel the fear of losing its identity, and thus unity became an important value to the Malay community. It was not that Malays had anything to fear about the race disappearing under the sun. But by threatening the risk, Malay voters vote UMNO in general elections. With number, they were able to ensure that UMNO returns to power all the time.

    The Malays are peaceful by nature. But some others non-Malays who had the qualifications under article 160 of Malaysian constitution to masquerade as Malay saw it an opportunity to build on Malay unity to enrich a group of people whose wealth are at his command, to perpetuate his rule. By claiming that the objective of NEP was to create Malay millionaires, he was able to change the system of public tender as have been the norm of government procurement, to negotiated tender. With that change, the person who is most powerful effectively put public funds as his kitty. It has become legal to transfer public funds into private pockets. It is then simple to use public funds to buy political support. Now the persons who belong to the powerful party in government chase after power, and with power comes wealth. Soon, power and wealth becomes chicken and egg. But money stays when power is gone, and thus money becomes the most important value. When end justifies the means corruption becomes institutionalized.

    Funny thing though the person who started the mother of all corruptions is able to condemn UMNO for presiding over the government which tolerates corruption. Yet UMNO politicians say that the statement was made out of love for UMNO. He must have meant it for UMNO Bahru, as the person who condemns the present UMNO killed the original UMNO.

    The present UMNO leaders only value money. Else how would a Wanita chief dare to divert project funds to by condominium. Oh, she was not aware about what was done by the husband. They might not sleep on the same bed!

  12. #12 by monsterball on Tuesday, 22 November 2011 - 4:43 pm

    They are simply a bunch of cunning crooks.
    The saddest part is that we have no choice but to struggle..for decades…for we had no strong united Oppositions….until 12th GE…4 years ago.
    And in that little time….with Internet news can be read by all…and not depending on one sided news from papers and TVs….minds are opened…cows are jumping…chimps and baboons are performing…exposing so much that smart Malaysians..especially the young voters….can see the hypocrites ….as they are..making Oppositions job much easier…and the trust for PR is growing so strong…Najib dare not announce the 13th GE at all.

  13. #13 by Bigjoe on Tuesday, 22 November 2011 - 4:51 pm

    Values? What kind of values think that passing an unconstitutional bill to ban street protest is in his own words ‘the best democracy’ and ‘not being afraid of the people’ and ‘no people will be detain for political ideology’?

    The man think he can say one thing in public but does another and then keep silent about. Its not hypocrisy or machiavellian. ITS IDIOCY. The suspension of sheer common sense…

  14. #14 by monsterball on Tuesday, 22 November 2011 - 4:56 pm

    Black Swan not popular.
    White Swan always in demand.

  15. #15 by SENGLANG on Tuesday, 22 November 2011 - 5:00 pm

    When they see the 250m their eyes pock up and saliva dropping. How can they see values of virtues but only what are the things that they can used the 250m to enhance their personal values.

  16. #16 by monsterball on Tuesday, 22 November 2011 - 7:25 pm

    Stealing is as bad as being a drug addict.
    They want more and more.
    Can anyone talk values and virtues with compulsive thieves..robbers and murderers?
    Worst still…steal…smiling..dressed up with false titles…traveling round the world…spending stolen money like water…declaring themselves champions of their religion.
    These are shameless worms.

  17. #17 by boh-liao on Tuesday, 22 November 2011 - 8:14 pm

    We now hv diverse NOUVEAU Malays in UmnoB n they hv VALUES based on instant big $$; they must make their transformation 2 Malay WORTHWHILE (after all giving up their ancestral roots is motivated by OPPORTUNISTIC GREED n MUST b compensated by big bucks)
    They r d SMARTER 1s too, exploiting Malay status under NEP 2 bcome nouveau riche n conning local gentle n naive Malays

  18. #18 by Jeffrey on Tuesday, 22 November 2011 - 8:18 pm

    Black Swan is right that it is an issue of values and “no fundamental change can happen in the society” unless values change for the better. Which raises the next question in light of CowGate, investigations of Insider trading into Astro-Mass deal & other headlines, are our elites (both political & business) particularly lacking in (ethical) values and since they are repeatedly voted in or respected such in spite of lacking such, are the rakyat/voters ourselves also lacking in (ethical) values to do so or plain naïve or lacking in thinking ability, or something else? Since the Malaysian value system is called in question by Black Swan, this matter deserves further attention. First of all Black Swan is correct that each of us has a personal ethical value system, only a question of some have more, some less, and maybe some in negative territory but the fact that (for example) Singapore is far more clean and corrupt free society than ours of course does not mean an average Malaysian is less ethical in personal conduct than (say) an average Singaporean. The challenge, if that were accepted true, is to determine why our political/corporate/business elites are viewed, with empirical justification, more corrupt, and not differentiating conflicts of interest etc.

  19. #19 by Jeffrey on Tuesday, 22 November 2011 - 8:35 pm

    ////which brings to question the entire value system that is being practised. It has nothing to do with religion or race/// – Black Swan. Has it got to anything to do with laws then? No we have plenty of laws against corruption. Then it has everything to do with lack of political will to enforce, or where there’s enforcement, its selective. So the more relevant question why there’s no will? Obviously the war cannot be waged against corruption when the group that has power to wage it is corrupt. Its trite one can’t rely on profiteers to reform black market system. So there’s a problem of values here that goes beyond laws, gloss over them etc and go around them, and protect one another within a kleptocracy. The phenomenon that needs closer examination is this: in terms of values and personal conduct, a corrupt politician or a businessman will not think it right to steal from his neighbour when the neighbour’s door is ajar even if the prospects of getting caught in stealing are zero – but he has no qualms in engaging in all kinds of conflicts of interest, use his position to benefit monetarily which tantamounts to “stealing” from public coffers via all kinds of means awarding of negotitated contracts or plain kick backs to Swiss Accounts etc. He thinks on personal conduct level theft is immoral at the personal level but in politics and business its ok to “steal” via such indirect means, and would be stupid not to do so. Why?

  20. #20 by Jeffrey on Tuesday, 22 November 2011 - 8:58 pm

    Maybe 2 reasons: (1) he views personal conduct and moral rules of right and wrong as applied to personal conduct or in relationship with family members and friends are different from a setting of politics or business where different rules actually apply (whatever the official rules to the contrary) (2) ingrained cultural norms that influence his values sytem in political or business context viewed as a game operating by dynamics and rules different from personal conduct level. Hence many a communal politician may in personal relationship have personal friends of other races, and are not racist, but when acting in the other role as a politician speak and act racist. This issue of proper and transparent governance, avoidance of conflicts of interest, political leaders are our servants not our masters and the full panoply of laws guidelines and regulations to enforce these precepts are more honoured in breach than adherence because they are standards of more developed Western countries evolved & distilled from centuries of political struggle to be at their level of political maturity, now adopted or grafted/superimposed upon us.

  21. #21 by Jeffrey on Tuesday, 22 November 2011 - 9:00 pm

    Our traditions are different: We still look up to those with titles; we honour leaders up them; they are not supposed to be “transparent”, they protect us in exchange for our blind loyalty under a kind of patronage system where we receive largesse. This underline the fact that cultural (traditional feudal) considerations do affect how people perceive right or wrong about conflicts of interest as operating in political or business context different from personal level. Rules governing accountability in politics & corporate are applicable to others but not those in power or connected to power in a patron-client relationship to whom these rules are but a mere façade. The idea is to go around the rules : the offence is not to beak them but to get caught implicating the rest in same racket! These are rules of the games. Values right or wrong in personal context are not viewed as applying in a straightline here in Politics and Business. The operation of ethical values/private morality in personal conduct are kept separate from amoral and often immoral values in Politics and Business Contexts apparently operating under different rules dictated by power and profit. The dichotomy is fascinating.

  22. #22 by Jeffrey on Tuesday, 22 November 2011 - 9:05 pm

    Sorry typo offence – “….the offence is not to bReak them but to get caught implicating the rest in same racket!”

  23. #23 by cemerlang on Wednesday, 23 November 2011 - 2:33 am

    Malaysia is islamic and there are islamic values. islam teaches halalness. Halalness is cleaness is islamic sense. In another words, it is clean. The money that is received and used is clean. What you value becomes your values. Everyone has their own values. Even a gangster has his values. There are general values accepted by all. Some people have more values than the other. It is not easy wanting to play a clean politician. Because you cannot be too open with whatever you know. Because you need your classified information to help in nation building. When it comes to money, there are different ways of receiving money. One the good way example taxes which is known by everyone. Two the bad way via corruption. How would you know if the cash note you are holding or the coin you are holding wasn’t held by the hands of a corruptor before it reaches you ?

  24. #24 by boh-liao on Wednesday, 23 November 2011 - 4:53 am

    Over d years, d VALUES of UmnoB/BN hv gone fr bad 2 WORSE: more corrupt n more racist 2 justify exploitation, abuse, corruption of d privileged n their cronies

  25. #25 by k1980 on Wednesday, 23 November 2011 - 6:33 am

    Change the system– so simple

    The system has allowed for middlemen and brokers to prosper at the expense of the people. You don’t have to look far. Look at just one item in the Auditor-General’s Report – the Marine Parks Department’s purchase of laptop and printer for RM11,845 which was 246% higher than the market price of RM3,428. Who were they purchased from – an authorised agent of Dell, Apple or HP? Or did it come from some Father, Mother and Son company or from one which belongs to the brother-in-law’s uncle’s grandson?

    Herein lies the crux of the problem. The procurement process was flawed from start to finish and yet no one wants to address the issue of correcting the imperfect system. If an open and transparent system is in place, then the perpetrators of such fraud and deceit will be exposed.

  26. #26 by boh-liao on Wednesday, 23 November 2011 - 7:21 am

    Actually UmnoB/BN kaki2 VERY smart n creatif @ ADDING VALUES 2 their personal net worth

  27. #27 by Jeffrey on Wednesday, 23 November 2011 - 10:54 am

    We also export our corrupt values abroad. According to TheMalaysianInsider report Nov 23, “French engineering group Alstom was fined RM133 million by Swiss authorities after its employees were found to have bribed civil servants in at least three cases including the award of contracts in Malaysia”.

  28. #28 by TheWrathOfGrapes on Wednesday, 23 November 2011 - 11:19 am

    The day that UMNOputras or UMNO supporters subscribe to any ethical or moral values (not the values of their allotted shares) will indeed be a black swan event.

  29. #29 by cseng on Wednesday, 23 November 2011 - 11:31 am

    Our value system determines the way look at issues, how we respond to issues. Collectively it forms a culture, the culture then influences the new comer’s value system; it is this vicious circle that molded our political culture, especially BN. Nobody could destroy our country except our own people, why? Because of the skewed value system.

    If a political party put the value of winning an election above all cost/consequences… that country is doomed.

  30. #30 by monsterball on Wednesday, 23 November 2011 - 1:27 pm

    You want to talk VALUES with creatures that values nothing but happy to enjoy money stolen from and poor alike?
    One who values MONEY ….all stolen and dressed up with false titles… are worthless show offs and braggarts.
    Did a Almighty teaches anyone to steal from the poor…his relations….not from enemies at all?
    Presuming…they steal from traitors…..not sinful…how about from the innocent ..helpless and poor?
    Is not Oil PROFITS..revenues earned… belonging to all Malaysians?
    What kind of creatures are these politicians …taking up politics to steal and not to serve?
    VALUES???…what values they have except clinging on to stolen money like leeches….wanting more and more.
    Blood suckers have no values.

  31. #31 by boh-liao on Wednesday, 23 November 2011 - 1:31 pm

  32. #32 by Ray on Wednesday, 23 November 2011 - 3:50 pm

    Freedom of expression has nothing to do with nationality or religion.
    Umno Religion Supremacy and political extremists are the same and against free expression. We are all in danger of Umnoputras fiddlings as Rome burns…lies were the fundamental teachings of Islam,they dont beleived in either democratic or moral values >>everything to them is Unconstititional >>>they were already
    heading doomdays religious followers.

  33. #33 by SENGLANG on Thursday, 24 November 2011 - 1:50 pm

    two days into the PAC hearing on NFC, the PAC chairman has shaking his head in disbelief.
    they found that the 250m loan was release before a contract was signed.

    well seem unvelievable but don’t the people of Malaysia have got used to this. it happen on almost most the government funded projects.

    the biggest ever was none other than PKFZ

    well, it was not that no procedures to foolow, and it was not those officers involved are not aware of what are the procedures to follow.

    we have one of the most efficient AG office that know how to draft the best legal document

    so what is the problem then? It is simply indeed. It was a culture of corrupt pratise since the past 22 years where the famous PM has been cultivated

    as far as those invlove are free to do what they want and no charges press on them the same issue will happen again and again

You must be logged in to post a comment.